DCSIMG

Your chance to go wild in the country

FLOWER POWER ... Hebburn riverside is among the wildlife habitats managed by South Tyneside Council. Inset, Durham Wildlife Trust director Jim Cokill.

FLOWER POWER ... Hebburn riverside is among the wildlife habitats managed by South Tyneside Council. Inset, Durham Wildlife Trust director Jim Cokill.

SOUTH TYNESIDE’S wildlife habitats are in line to be given extra care, thanks to a new £500,000 conservation project.

Council staff have been working with Durham Wildlife Trust to create the WildGround training programme, intended to fill a skills gap in natural heritage grounds maintenance.

A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s skills for the future programme will pay for training for the next three years in wildlife-friendly grounds maintenance for 18 new starters, as well as existing staff and managers.

The aim is to enhance the natural heritage of South Tyneside’s green spaces and create a team of skilled labourers able to put a wildlife-friendly approach into action.

They will then be able to apply their skills across the region and perhaps even further afield. Over a 10-month period, trainees will develop portfolios resulting in the award of a level-two diploma in practical environmental conservation skills.

Training activities on offer include tuition in creating wildflower grasslands, tree-planting, using brush-cutters and chainsaws, fencing and wetland management.

Trust director Jim Cokill said: “There is greater interest than ever in finding wildlife-friendly ways of managing urban green spaces,” he said.

“The wildlife-friendly approach delivers so much more, from benefits for bees to creating more attractive places for people to live and work.”

As much as 60 per cent of 3,148 UK species have declined in numbers in the last 50 years, and projects such as WildGround are intended to help slow down that process.

Anyone interested in joining up can get an application pack from Julie Anderson at j.anderson@durhamwt.co.uk.

Twitter: @shieldsgazette

 

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